September 18, 2007

brave idols of a brazen summer

an excellence conceals itself
is mute


admit not Broadway into Sunday Mass


grim entertainment of a needful task


pronounce the casual curse
and forfeit grace

- pentameters of Dylan of "more last than star"
It was with a bit of skepticism that I accepted a review copy of Champions of Faith earlier this summer...Given my love of baseball and my faith (not in that order), you might find my worries strange, but then consider that the last movie to combine baseball with spirituality was Bull Durham and you might understand. Though the DVD is excellent overall, as with anything, parents should watch it with their children as there are some troublesome parts. For one, there are simply too many moments in Champions of Faith where the players and coaches profiled show a Prayer of Jabez-ish mentality. Says one: "If you put God in first place, he'll put you in first place, if you put him in second place, he'll put you in second place." Really? Tell that to Job. Or, if you prefer a more contemporary example, tell that to the Devil Rays. Sorry Tampa Bay! Nobody on your team puts God in first place!...Overall it does a good job...Boys sometimes just need to hear these things from somebody who's not mom or dad. You can argue all day about why that is and it's probably not a good thing, but there are many kids out there who will be moved by seeing their heros confess their faith in Jesus present in the Eucharist. - Papa-lu at Papa Familias

I, on the other hand, distort all of literature through a Christian lens as all of art consists of acts of co-creation, hence God is bound to get through whether or not you have Him in mind, because He always has you in mind. - Steven Riddle

[Michael] Pollan writes:
I'd always thought of the trees and grasses as antagonists -- another zero-sum deal in which the gain of the one entails the loss of the other. To a point, this is true: More grass means less forest; more forest less grass. But either-or is a construction more deeply woven into our culture than into nature, where even antagonists depend on one another and the liveliest places are the edges, the in-betweens or both-ands... Relations are what matter most, and the health of the cultivated turns on the health of the wild.
The Church is the environment (one both natural and supernatural) in which man can best flourish. The analogy with ecological environments suggests that both "cultivated" rules and "wild" freedom are necessary, and moreover that it is where rules and freedom meet that the Church will be liveliest. That, at least, is the hypothesis suggested by my reading. The monoculture of Rules Alone, so to speak, is unsustainable and will eventually lead to sterility and starvation; the wilds alone ill-fit our needs and will lead to malnutrition and starvation. Pollan concludes the chapter with a quotation from Joel Salatin, the owner of Polyface Farms: "One of the greatest assets of a farm is the sheer ecstasy of life." Isn't that also one of the greatest assets of the Church? - Tom of Disputations

The Informed Churchman Examines Recently Confirmed Artifact 361752 ("Holy Grail")
Doesn't gold resist tarnish? and yet, look
there, that little spot from which no light shines.
And why, after all, gold and not silver,
wood, glass, or antimony pewter? While
we're at it, who designed this lumpen cup?
Didn't they know we'd make of it a chalice?
Could they not see how inelegant the
lines? Unseemly bulges, awkward in hand.
What are we to make of such unruly
work? Miracles? Pah. What's a miracle
with such a declassé design? Who cares
what superstition has imbued it with?
Anyone with half an eye can see it
for what it is--bargain basement gimcrack
finery. Our Lord (who had a fine sense
of style) would never have set lips to such
a cup as this. Who could think so? No, go
find another--we surely can't keep this.
- poem by Steven of "Flos Carmeli"

This is my personal blog .... but as you know, I do plug Requiem Press books here now and again. Since my 3 daily readers have already bought all our books, this is a useless exercise; but as they say, hope springs eternal-so without further ado, here is today's plug. - Jim of "Bethune Catholic"

Give me a vespa, a pretty dress, some amazing high-heels, a vodka martini and the open road. That really sounds like I’m planning to drink and drive and die in some sort of glorious Breakfast at Tiffany’s montage induced state. Alas. - Amanda of "A good man is hard to find"

Most of us have a lot of room for improvement in terms of lovability, but all it takes is a jot, or even a tittle, for God to love us. And that makes it perfectly reasonable for Him to give us the grace to become more lovable (which most of us seem to do incrementally at best). What lies beyond reason is why God would choose to create creatures to be loved in this way. But that's why we talk more about the logic of love in pop songs than in philosophy classes. - Tom of Disputations

Sentimentality . . . is distinguished and objectionable because it is a form of emotional indulgence that depends on a distortion of the way things are...And this [moral] objection [to sentimentality] arises from the special character of the fiction that sentimentality employs. We located this fiction as, roughly speaking, a fiction of innocence. It then became clear why sentimentality had come to be associated with brutality. For to maintain the innocence one has projected upon a favoured objection, it is often necessary to construct other, dangerous fictions about the things that object interacts with. - Mark Jefferson via commenter on Disputations

To know truth invites hardship and a long unknowing. And so we avoid the knife as long as we can, or many of us do; but some, wiser perhaps, or more daring, learn the art of naked steel, learn the caress of the blade that opens up all. Knowledge is hard, but not so stony and unyielding as willed ignorance; it's blade cuts deep and yet heals. To choose not to know... is no skillful clean cut, nor surgical strike; no--rather an all out plummet to a meaningless blot, a rorschach. Pain either way, no matter what people end up thinking, no matter which we choose. So, why not truth? Pain then in the service of an end that brings us all together, soldiers-in-arms against the same sad nameless terminal disease. - Steven of Flos Carmeli

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